So you wanna be a nurse writer? You go, you! I’m here to tell you that’s a completely realistic, attainable goal. I’ve chatted about this a lot in my newsletter, but let’s run through how you know you may make a great writer.
I should remind you that this blog isn’t just for nurses. If you’re any sort of healthcare worker, or really anyone that wants to be a writer, these posts are for you. I write about health writing, because I’m a health writer. But I’ve had finance writers, sport writers, and tech writers tell me these tips will work.
So let’s dive in!
You Love Good Research
The backbone of every writer is research. What you may see is a finalized, polished article on cancer. What you don’t see is the hours of research a writer performs to make sure the article is accurate, balanced, and well-received.
Do you like doing deep dives into a certain topic? Do you get lost diving deeper and deeper into credible sources? Do you know the difference between an authoritative source and an inaccurate source?
If so, writing may be for you.
You’re a Reader
Before I was a professional writer, I was an avid reader. You need to be able to accurately and quickly consume information for your projects. The slower you read, the harder it will be to understand and write your projects under a strict deadline.
Some of this does come with practice. The more you read, the better your comprehension levels will be. But, you do need to enjoy reading. It’s a big part of some professional writing niches.
You Like to Write
This is a big one. You need to actually enjoy writing. That feeling when you finish a challenging paragraph and the sentence you’ve been searching for just falls into place. When cadence meets knowledge and your article ropes your reader in while informing.
You’ll spend most of your time actually writing and editing, so you do have to enjoy this process. I’ve enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote songs, poems, and stories throughout my childhood. As I got older, this changed to essays for school and journaling.
If you feel a pull towards writing, it may be time to make it your profession.
You Get Lost in A Good Story or Movie
Writing has a lot to do with telling a really good story. Even when you’re working for a pharmaceutical company or writing an advertisement-the story is the most central part. You’ll still have antagonists, protagonists, rising actions, conflicts, and resolutions.
If you love these elements in movies, stories, or books, you may want to try your hand at recreating them as a writer.
You can Multitask
Being a professional writer doesn’t just mean you’ll be writing. If you’re a freelancer, you’ll be networking, sending in invoices, dealing with billing, and looking for future projects. Even if you're an in-house writer, you'll have multiple things to work on at a time.
It sounds like a lot, and sometimes it is. Right now, I’m actually writing this article from the airport. But most of the time, it’s manageable.
If you struggle with basic time management, task prioritization, and organizational skills, writing may not be for you. For a single deliverable, you’ll have to research, write, edit, and meet a deadline. It’s not a detrimental issue, but if you’ve struggled your entire life to meet deadlines, it may be stressful.
You Know When to Ask For Help
Just because you write alone doesn’t mean you need to be alone all the time. You need to know when to ask for help. Asking for help early in a project is better than finishing it and needing to heavily edit it, or worse-rewrite it!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask your peers, your editors, your friends, and your family for support. If you already do this in your regular life, great! Carry this practice over into your writing.
You’re Good at Seeing the “Big Picture”
Are you good at pulling out the main idea? Do you see patterns to behavior, events, or information that other people may not? I always say this quality is one of the most important for professional writers.
As a writer, it’s your job to give a summary of important information for a topic. You can’t rewrite the 10 pages of information you just read. Instead, you need to pull out the main information and write 2 pages.
This is where seeing the big picture comes in. It also helps with being a business owner. You can identify industry trends, land big clients, and network with valuable people. Some of the most important qualities a writer can have has absolutely nothing to do with the actual act of writing!
So does this sound like you? Are you someone who loves to read, write, or research? Do you love a good movie or story? Do you know when to ask for help? Are you good at seeing the overall picture?
You may be ready to become a writer. And if you don’t have all these skills right now, don’t worry. Most of these you can learn. I didn’t have all of them, and I didn’t understand everything with my first client. Professional writing is a forgiving place, and people are willing to teach and mentor.
Curious on how to get your writing career off the ground? You can check out my comprehensive master course here.